Transglutaminase Inhibitors Attenuate Vascular Calcification in a Preclinical Model
Objective—In vitro, transglutaminase-2 (TG2)–mediated activation of the β-catenin signaling pathway is central in warfarin-induced calcification, warranting inquiry into the importance of this signaling axis as a target for preventive therapy of vascular calcification in vivo.
Methods and Results—The adverse effects of warfarin-induced elastocalcinosis in a rat model include calcification of the aortic media, loss of the cellular component in the vessel wall, and isolated systolic hypertension, associated with accumulation and activation of TG2 and activation of β-catenin signaling. These effects of warfarin can be completely reversed by intraperitoneal administration of the TG2-specific inhibitor KCC-009 or dietary supplementation with the bioflavonoid quercetin, known to inhibit β-catenin signaling. Our study also uncovers a previously uncharacterized ability of quercetin to inhibit TG2. Quercetin reversed the warfarin-induced increase in systolic pressure, underlying the functional consequence of this treatment. Molecular analysis shows that quercetin diet stabilizes the phenotype of smooth muscle and prevents its transformation into osteoblastic cells.
Conclusion—Inhibition of the TG2/β-catenin signaling axis seems to prevent warfarin-induced elastocalcinosis and to control isolated systolic hypertension.
- Received August 3, 2012.
- Accepted October 19, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.